Let’s say times are great for your firm. You have a range of clients all wanting your services and throwing money in your direction. Is this the easiest time to be a consultancy? For some firms, it could be one of the hardest.
When demand peaks, projects must be planned, resourced and executed in a way that allows a professional services firm to find the right combination of team members and skill-sets to achieve the best possible margin.
Although traditionally spreadsheets have been used to do this to do this, running multiple sheets serving different service lines, offices and regions means potentially business critical data is being isolated in silos.
Without a consolidated database at a group level or the means to report on the information stored within these silos, senior management has no way to identify where resources are being under-utilised or where spare capacity may exist. While spreadsheets provide the means to calculate actual billing revenue on a monthly basis, there is no way to accurately forecast future billing revenue or apply ‘what if’ scenarios.
As clients become increasingly discerning and demand greater visibility into engagement pricing and project structure, it is difficult for professional services firms to provide this level of visibility if they don’t have it readily to hand themselves. For example, both the supplier and the client will want to be able to track project progress against budget spend, yet many firms still rely on simply setting a budget threshold within the spreadsheet. The result is that clients are only made aware of a potential overrun once it is imminent or the threshold has already been reached.
Perhaps because of these shortcomings, a growing number of service based businesses are investing in resource management and staff planning software. By matching the right resource to the right job, firms are able to optimise resource utilisation and adjust allocations as and when required. This system enables users to quickly find resources, jobs or bookings based on availability or that match other specific criteria.